Saturday, 12 July 2014

Reasons for Deploying Oracle BI

It not easy for decision makers to choose a proper reporting tool to support their business optimally. Having a look to the latest Gartner BI Magic Quadrant and evaluating customer surveys you will see that Oracle BI is in the section of market leaders, but not always fulfilling clients needs concerning quality and support.

But what's the reason? Is it Oracle BI itself or is it the way providers deliver services on Oracle BI? Reviewing existing OBIEE applications gives a clear picture (please have a look to our blog post on OBIEE Client Success and Typical Issues). As Oracle BI supports a wide range of business and user functionalities (see BI Success Factors) it is - due to this fact - sometimes not easy to understand. But that only concerns technical stuff and BI developers. A service provider delivering world class solutions will not struggle with technical questions. Unfortunately clients being dissatisfied with Oracle BI complain only about such technical issues, at least as we can cover.

To be honest, that's not a problem specific to Oracle BI. Each BI tool has general conditions a service provider needs to know. In a worst-case scenario you'll get a "running" solution returning incorrect results. In combination with users just clicking fields together and not thinking about their reporting goal a very critical situation. A BI tool giving you real reporting power has to be complex partially. Without complexity there is no basis for creating a self service BI environment. And sometimes complexity is mixed up with just don't knowing how to do it.
Again, that's not tool specific. You don't agree? Then think for example about a lot of companies using Excel as reporting and data integration tool. Real testing of such reports often results in incorrect calculated entity relationships and key figures being the basis for taking company-wide decisions. Easy to use does not imperatively mean correct in use.

A optimal Oracle BI configuration prevents such a situation. You can build a structure securing correct analyses. It is beyond any Oracle marketing material and Oracle BI components or add-ons (for e.g. publishing, collaboration, mobile, office integration or security) one key reason for deploying Oracle BI. Others are (from a financial perspective and our personal one):
  • Running prototypes are build within 2 days maximum.
  • Full deployable applications can be set up within a couple of days.
  • Oracle BI optimally supports agile development not only for IT departments but also for business users even when handling several data sources.
  • We never had a requirement we couldn't solve using OBIEE for 10 years+ now.
  • None of our Oracle BI clients replaced the tool by another one.
To close this article we posted the question "What's your favourite reason for using OBIEE?" to some LinkedIn groups to gather users personal reasons on Oracle BI. Responses came more from a technical point of view. But that's the foundation for what we stated above. Consolidated:
  • Ease of use when creating reports and dashboards.
  • Drilling in views, graphs, charts and tables.
  • A lot of options for delivering content and layout challenges.
  • Very good performance when using Kimballs dimensional modelling.
  • Creation of shared dimensions like canonical date.
  • Supporting high performance through different aggregation techniques, scalability and high availability even when handling very huge data marts.
  • Integration with other Oracle and non Oracle products.
  • Integration of OBIEE into heterogenous environments.
  • A community and knowledge surrounding OBIEE 11g at a nice mature level that there is comfort and stability.
Many thanks to Marko, Niamh, György and Ernest for your comments.

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